Bogus Compensation Claim

By: Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary In an effort to get himself reelected as president of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega and his Sandinista party are demanding that the United States pay U.S. $17 billion in “compensation” for the damage they caused Nicaragua in the 1980’s and for the U.S. government’s funding of the contras against the Sandinista revolutionary government of the time. Further, Ortega wants the United States to acknowledge that it had been responsible for the entire war against Nicaragua during the 1980’s.

In 1986, the Sandinista government had brought such a case of compensation against the United States to the International Court of Justice for the United States being responsible for aiding and arming the contra rebels against the Sandinistas. There is no question that the U.S. government was indeed guilty of aiding, arming and training the contras. The court ruled in Nicaragua’s favor. However, when the Sandinistas lost power the new Nicaraguan government of the time dropped the case against the United States. U.S. President Bill Clinton acknowledged this years later, apologized to Nicaragua and other Central American countries for the United States backing military dictatorships of the time, and calling for direct U.S. investments in these countries to help try and rebuild their war-torn shattered economies.

Mr. Ortega seems to have a short-term memory. From 1990 to 2010, the United States has provided over U.S. $2 billion in aid and development to Nicaragua. U.S. companies have invested millions of dollars in the Nicaraguan economy, and the U.S, government provided U.S. $94 million in aid to Nicaragua in 1999, 2000, and 2001 after Hurricane Felix. And while he is on the subject of “compensation,” he may want to remember the compensation the Sandinistas owe U.S. citizens for the property, factories and investments the Sandinistas confiscated from Americans in the 1980’s. What about the terrible atrocities committed by the Sandinistas against the Miskitos during the Nicaraguan civil war? What about the compensation the Sandinistas owe for the atrocities they committed against thousands of Nicaraguan villages during the civil war?

Of course, the Sandinistas have no intention of compensating anyone, no intention of apologizing for what they did, nor will they even acknowledge that these things happened. The Sandinistas are doing this for domestic consumption. Ortega is going to put demanding compensation from the United States to a referendum. The opposition parties—especially the Constitutionalist Liberal Party, the Christian Democratic Union, and the Conservative Party—have made it clear that they will go against anything the Sandinistas do. They know it will be bad for the Nicaraguan economy, and by damaging U.S.-Nicaragua ties this will cause more Nicaraguans to leave their country looking for work. At a time when Nicaragua and the Nicaraguan people can ill afford doing damage to their relations with any country, and the United States in particular, and shooting their economy in the foot, it seems that Daniel Ortega and the Sandinistas may do just that for political consumption.

Comments are closed.